Climate change by the numbers

Over the next two weeks, leaders of 195 countries will meet in Paris at COP21 to negotiate a new global agreement on climate change.
What’s COP21 and why should you care?
Read on to find out what’s really happening, and what’s at stake for Canada and the world.

Solar panels and wind turbines at a renewable energy research station in Perth, Western Australia. © Richard McLellan / WWF-Canon
Solar panels and wind turbines at a renewable energy research station in Perth, Western Australia. © Richard McLellan / WWF-Canon


What: COP21 is the twenty-first UN Conference of the countries that have signed the international treaty on climate change.


Where: Paris, France


When: November 30 – December 11, 2015


Why it’s important: The existing international agreement is due to end in 2020. This meeting is to agree on new targets and actions that will determine if countries can work together to slow climate change.


Who cares? Everyone. And here’s why.


Climate change by the numbers:

52 %: Species have declined by 52 per cent globally in the past 40 years. Climate change is one of the biggest contributors to this decline, and will have even more impact in the years to come.


30 %: Polar bear populations are projected to decrease by between 30 and 60 per cent by 2050 due to sea ice loss from climate change, unless the world takes action on climate change.


2 degrees: Nations around the world have already agreed to keep global temperatures within a rise of 2C above pre-industrial levels to prevent the most dangerous impacts of climate change. But, we are currently on track for an increase of 5C, which would be extremely disruptive and potentially destructive to all natural systems as we now know them.


21: The past UN COPs on climate change have focused on setting goals and targets, but for the most part they’ve been short-term and have not involved all countries. This, the twenty-first conference, is expected to develop a new agreement that binds all countries. And, WWF-Canada will be there to help make sure it happens.


190: More than 190 countries will be represented at the conference. Canada will be represented by our new prime minister and members of his cabinet, including the newly named Minister of Environment and Climate Change, as well as all provincial premiers. Finally, Canada will show that it’s serious about meeting emissions targets on the national stage.


100 %: To achieve the necessary greenhouse gas emission reductions to prevent climate change, the world will need to shift to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.


65 %: Canada’s electricity use is already 65 per cent renewable, and with Alberta’s recent commitment to phase out coal by 2030, we will move even closer to a renewable future.


What can you do?

Educate yourself on the issues. Support WWF, and encourage Canadian leaders to make firm commitments as they negotiate for a global reduction in greenhouse gasses.
Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, invites Canadians to submit their ideas by video on how to reduce GHG emissions.
Watch our ideas and tweet @ec_minister #COP21CAN with your ideas today!

Get a behind the scenes update from WWF-Canada’s President and CEO David Miller live from COP21!
We recently hosted a Twitter Chat to give you the opportunity to tweet your questions and thoughts about climate change, the melting Arctic, and the international negotiations to us.  Check it out here as David Miller answers your questions.